Whether you have city or well water, all water coming into your home is processed through pipes that run to each faucet from outside of your home. As the weather becomes colder, the pipes and water get colder as well. Freezing temperatures can damage your pipes and even make them freeze. Because water expands when it freezes, in can cause the pipes to expand and leave or even burst. There are several ways to protect your home from expensive damage due to frozen pipes.
Supplied Needed to Prepare Your Pipes
There are several items you will need to help prepare your pipes for freezing weather. All of the supplies should be available at your local home improvement store. Depending on the water flow of your pipes, you may need a drain snake or liquid drain opener. There are several types of insulation available for pipes. This includes pipe sleeves and insulation tape. For areas of your house that aren’t heated, small space heaters may be required.
Prepare In Advance
Although the winter cold does not get arrive until mid-to-late November, it’s important to prepare your pipes, inside and out, in advance. Early to mid-October id the best time to prepare your pipes. Any outside water source should be drained. Turn off the water supply to the exterior water sources. After the water supply is off, drain all external faucets, hoses, pools and anything that uses the internal pipe supply. After draining the external water supply, take all hoses indoors in a warmer environment. Insulate external water faucets and lines using insulated tape or pipe sleeves.
Internal Pipes and Preparation
Before preparing for potential freezing temperatures, ensure your internal pipes are free of clogs and debris. Slow drains can complicate problems that can occur with cold weather. You can use plumbing supplies such as a snake, drain cleaners or other products. You can also use baking soda and vinegar. After pouring baking soda and vinegar down your drains, allow it to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Boil water and flush each drain with the boiling water. For aggressive clogs, you may wish to call a plumber. Cleaning your pipes will allow water to flow more freely and not add to the potential for pipes to freeze.
Inspect All of Your Internal Pipes
Carefully inspect all of your internal pipes to see if any are leaking. Also check for temperature differences around your home. In areas of the home that are cooler, such as basements, attics, garages, crawl spaces and sunrooms that are not insulated, invest in small, portable space heaters to ensure the pipes stay above freezing. You can also insulate visible pipes to help protect them from freezing temperatures. Although space heaters will increase your electric bill, frozen and damaged pipes can be much more costly.
When Temperatures Become Bitter Cold
Because most water pipes run along or close to outside walls for visual aesthetics, when temperatures become bitterly cold, it’s important to allow heat to circulate to as many as those pipes as possible. Open doors and cabinets where those pipes are to allow heat into those areas. Check cold areas of the home and ensure there is enough heat in those areas to keep it above freezing.